Beyoncé Chose Not to Perform at 2021 Grammys, Recording Academy CEO Says

Despite being the most nominated artist for the 2021 Grammy Awards, Beyoncé opted not to perform at the show, the Recording Academy's interim CEO said in a new interview.

By Corinne Heller Mar 13, 2021 8:05 PMTags
Watch: Beyonce Won't Perform at 2021 Grammys, Recording Academy CEO Says

Beyoncé is the most nominated artist for the 2021 Grammys. However, she will not take the stage during the show.

On Friday, March 12, the Los Angeles Times reported that the "Black Parade" singer, who received nine nominations in eight categories, has opted not to perform at the 63rd annual Grammy Awards. Beyoncé has not commented on the report and has neither confirmed nor denied whether she will even attend the event.

"It's unfortunate, because she's such a big part of the Recording Academy," the nonprofit group's interim CEO Harvey Mason Jr. told the newspaper of Beyoncé's decision not to perform. "We absolutely wish we had her onstage."

No reason was given for the singer's decision. When asked whether a viewer might reasonably think it strange that Beyoncé isn't there, the 2021 Grammys Executive Producer Ben Winston told the Los Angeles Times, "They might."

Beyoncé has performed several times at past Grammy ceremonies. This will mark the third time in recent history that the most-nominated act has chosen not to perform on the telecast, following Kendrick Lamar in 2019 and Beyoncé's husband, rapper Jay-Z, in 2018, the Los Angeles Times reported.

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News of Beyoncé's stage absence also comes amid accusations against the Recording Academy of bias against women and Black artists, criticism over its voting guidelines and its snub of The Weeknd in its 2021 nominations despite the success of his album After Hours and single "Blinding Lights." Beyoncé has not commented about either issue.

After The Weeknd was shut out in November, he tweeted that "the Grammys remain corrupt." He recently vowed to boycott the awards altogether.

"Because of the secret committees," the Weeknd told the New York Times on Thursday, March 11, "I will no longer allow my label to submit my music to the Grammys."

Harvey told the newspaper that the Recording Academy is dedicated to improving itself. The outlet reported that the group has invited thousands of new members, hired a diversity officer and increased the number of women and people of color in its committees and leadership.

Regarding The Weekend's statement, Harvey told the New York Times, "We're all disappointed when anyone is upset. But I will say that we are constantly evolving. And this year, as in past years, we are going to take a hard look at how to improve our awards process, including the nomination review committees."

Meanwhile, the 2021 Grammys will look vastly different this year. The event, postponed by several weeks to Sunday, March 14 due to the coronavirus pandemic, will incorporate some live segments—with social distancing tactics—as well as performances from more than 22 acts, with some prerecorded. The list of performers includes Taylor Swift, Megan Thee Stallion, Harry Styles, Cardi BBad Bunny, and BTS.

The artists will perform "in and around" the Los Angeles Convention Center on four stages, each set up in the round with a small number of performers, nominees and guests grouped around it, Variety reported earlier this week. Celebs will present the Grammy Awards on a fifth stage, the outlet said.

"One of our mandates was that [performers] have to come to us and be part of our team and film in L.A.," Variety quoted co-executive producer Raj Kapoor as saying. "We're not interested in doing a show that is disconnected. There's a physical presence to it, of people performing live for the camera and being in a single location. Other shows may have used music videos and virtual reality and stuff, but ours is actually based in Los Angeles, where we usually celebrate the Grammys. It may be done in a different way, but it definitely feels like people are coming together to make this show."

Head to E! News' 2023 Grammy Awards page for a full recap of music's biggest night.